Campus Dining is comprised of two campus dining halls which serve over 11,000 meals per day, as well as a convenience store, eight express units, the Huddle food court, three casual restaurants, a large catering department, campus vending, and athletic concessions. They strive to prepare healthy meals using locally grown and sustainably produced sources where possible, and use food preparation and distribution practices that minimize energy use and waste generation.
Student Facing Programs
- Dining hall trays: South Dining Hall has switched to smaller trays in order to reduce food waste. The dining halls also encourage students to consider not using a tray when possible.
- Waste-Free Wednesdays, Waste and Weigh surveys, and an educational “wasted food” poster campaign in the dining halls encourage diners to take only what they plan to eat.
- Reusable dishware: The dining halls only use reusable dishware, so there's no container waste. Dishware washing procedures are designed to minimize water and energy usage.
- Incentives: Discounts at campus cafes encourage customers to bring their own mug.
- Eco-friendly to-go containers: To-go stations use corn-based cups for yogurt and cold drinks.
- Discounts at campus eateries for bringing your own cup.
Recycling & Waste
Campus Dining is a major contributor to the campus recycling program. Their recycling efforts divert approximately 40% of waste that would go to a landfill. They also salvage equipment for resale. Food scraps from the main Food Service facility are used for cattle feed, totaling about 37,000 pounds per year. Leftover cooked food is donated to two local homeless shelters and edible food waste is processed through garbage disposals and the University's waste water conveyance system to the municipal wastewater treatment plant where solid waste is removed and used in agricultural applications. Additionally, an international oil reclamation company picks up waste grease and cooking oils from ND dining halls for reprocessing into usable products.
Grab 'n Go Bags
At the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year, dining halls began eliminating paper bags from Grab 'n Go. To carry their Grab 'n Go, students may bring their own reusable bag or purchase one either in the Huddle Mart or the South Dining Hall's Grab 'n Go. In the past, the dining halls used a total of 196,000 bags a year, or the equivalent of 280 trees. In addition to saving trees, the dining halls will also save the money spent on paper bags and instead direct it towards increased local food purchasing.
Elimination of Styrofoam
The Fall 2015 semester also marks the elimination of styrofoam cups from dining hall serveries. Cups were previously provided for carrying out drinks. To carry out a beverage from the dining halls now, guests may use their own 32 ounce or less reusable container.
Sustainably Produced Foods
Campus Dining is focused on offering the choice of sustainably produced food to encourage consumption of products that are renewable and support the environment. They actively develop menus in all units to include sustainable choices. Look for the following sustainable items: Tilapia, Catfish, Cod, Alaskan Halibut, Dungeness Crab, Coffee.
Campus Dining purchase energy star products in new purchases where available in order to minimize their water, gas, and electrical use. Some of these savings include Energy Start rated fryers saving $600 per year and dishwashers saving over $1,000 in energy and water use. Additionally, preventive maintenance is regularly performed to ensure equipment is performing at its peak efficiency.
Vegetarian and Vegan Diet
Campus Dining offers many vegetarian and vegan options. Look for the V to find vegetarian choices of entrees and soups. Vegetarian diets are one opportunity to benefit in both good health and social responsibility. Vegetables require much less natural resources to grow than animal products, in fact, it takes 518 gallons of water to produce one pound of chicken and 1,847 gallons to produce one pound of beef.
Look for the letter H which indicates a healthier option. The items with this marking are prepared using more healthful techniques. They contain less fat or calories than other options and contain more vitamins, nutrients, and positive health influences. Include these as part of your balanced diet.
Look for the V to find vegetarian choices of entrees and soups. These items do not contain meat or fish. Vegetarian diets are one opportunity to benefit in both good health and social responsibility. Vegetables require much less natural resources to grow than animal products. If you are looking for Vegan choices, please visit Campus Dining's Special Diets page.
Locally Sourced Products
Campus Dining features items produced in Indiana and Michigan or within 250 miles of Notre Dame. Nearly 5.6 million dollars in locally sourced products are purchased annually, making up over 38% of annual purchases. These products are fresher and save natural resources, especially gas that is more and more costly each day.
Notre Dame’s Center for Culinary Excellence (CCE)
Campus Dining operates a central processing facility that provides a cornerstone to our conservation efforts. Bulk production provides economy of scale, conserving costs, utilities, storage, and waste. Vegetable trim goes to a local farm and is used for animal feed. CCE will be home to a new composting pilot starting in Fall 2015. Composting will be rolled out to campus dining halls and retail locations over the following year.
In an effort to reduce food waste and achieve their sustainability goals, Campus Dining has worked with LeanPath, a food waste prevention program, to implement measures across both dining halls and the Center for Culinary Excellence that have reduced pre-consumer food waste by 30% so far.
Pre-consumer food (food that has not been put on a customer’s plate) removed from dining halls is weighed, photographed and imported into the system by cooks and service associates. The system then provides detailed information about the type of food and the reason for disposal such as overproduction or excess purchasing. Finally, the system compares the weighed food against a food waste baseline that was set in the fall of 2015.
Campus Dining demonstrates its commitment to the community by supporting many causes with in-kind donations.
- They annually support Rebuilding Together, Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, the American Cancer Society, Potowatami Tribe, and many University sponsored charities.
- They donate the cost of food for meals not consumed by students for Wednesday Lunch Fast to the American Hunger Coalition.
- Leftover products which meet food safety requirements are donated to the Center for the Homeless and Hope Rescue Mission.